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Altered reality…..

Photo taken using a Nikon D70s with Lightroom adjustments by Mas'ud Ahmed Khan. Instagram ID: masud.a.khan

Photo taken using a Nikon D70s with Lightroom adjustments by Mas’ud Ahmed Khan. Instagram ID: masud.a.khan

“Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

 

1st Bowl. Southend-on-End Photo taken using an iPhone 5s by: Ahqib Hussain. Instagram ID: iamclarkkent23

1st Bowl. Southend-on-End
Photo taken using an iPhone 5s by: Ahqib Hussain. Instagram ID: iamclarkkent23

Everything you see has its roots
in the Unseen world.
The forms may change,
yet the essence remains the same.

Every wondrous sight will vanish,
Every sweet word will fade.
But do not be disheartened,
The Source they come from is eternal –
Growing, branching out,
giving new life and new joy.

Why do you weep? –
That Source is within you,
And this whole world
is springing up from it.

The Source is full,
Its waters are ever-flowing;
Do not grieve,
drink your fill!
Don’t think it will ever run dry –
This is the endless Ocean.

From the moment you came into this world
A ladder was place in front of you
that you might escape.

From earth you became a plant,
from plant you became animal.
Afterwards you became a human being,
Endowed with knowledge, intellect, and faith.

Behold the body, born of dust-
How perfect it has become!

Why should you fear its end?
When were you ever made less by dying?

When you pass beyond this human form,
No doubt you will become an angel
And soar through the heavens!

But don’t stop there,
Even heavenly bodies grow old.

Pass again from the heavenly realm
and plunge into the vast ocean of Consciousness.
Le the drop of water that is you
become a hundred mighty seas.

But do not think that the drop alone
Becomes the Ocean –
the Ocean, too, becomes the drop!

~ Mevlana Rumi 

Autumn trees in England, UK. Photo taken using an iPhone by: Sidra Mushtaq

Autumn trees in England, UK. Photo taken using an iPhone by: Sidra Mushtaq

Seven Advice of Mevlana

1. In generosity and helping others be like a river
2. In compassion and grace be like the sun
3. In concealing others’ faults be like the night
4. In anger and fury be like the dead
5. In modesty and humility be like the earth
6. In tolerance be like a sea
7. Either exist as you are or be as you look

All night, a man called “Allah”
Until his lips were bleeding.
Then the Devil said, “Hey! Mr Gullible!
How comes you’ve been calling all night
And never once heard Allah say, “Here, I am”?

You call out so earnestly and, in reply, what?
I’ll tell you what. Nothing!”

The man suddenly felt empty and abandoned.
Depressed, he threw himself on the ground
And fell into a deep sleep.
In a dream, he met Abraham, who asked,
“Why are you regretting praising Allah?”

The man said, “ I called and called
But Allah never replied, “Here I am.”

Abraham explained, “Allah has said,
“Your calling my name is My reply.
Your longing for Me is My message to you.
All your attempts to reach Me
Are in reality My attempts to reach you.
Your fear and love are a noose to catch Me.
In the silence surrounding every call of “Allah”
Waits a thousand replies of “Here I am.”

~ Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi







Each moment

contains a hundred messages from God:

To every cry of “Oh God”

He answers a hundred times, “I am here.”

~ Mevlana Rumi

I had always wanted to visit Konya, just so I could visit the blessed tomb of Mevlana Jalāl ad-Dīn Rumi, one of the greatest mystical poets of all times. I had been to Istanbul a couple of times before, but for one reason or another, I never got the chance to visit Konya; however this time, I was determined to make that extra journey and go spend a day in Konya. So, on the 28th December 2009, I got a flight from Istanbul to Konya. I had no knowledge of what Konya was like, nor did I bother to read up about the city, and to be very honest, I didn’t really care because my prime aim and purpose of the trip was just to visit the blessed tomb of Mevlana.

I arrived at Konya airport at 8am, and my tour guide was waiting outside for me. We headed straight to Mevlana’s Mausoleum first. Whilst driving up to the Mausoleum, I sensed a completely different atmosphere; the roads were empty and quiet, hardly could see people out and about, there were not that many mosques in sight, everything seemed a bit dull to me, it was totally different to Istanbul!

The weather that day was cold and cloudy, which didn’t exactly uplift my mood, but then my gaze fell upon the beautiful green done…..

“Come, Come, Whoever you Are

Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.

It doesn’t matter.

Ours is not a caravan of despair.

Come, even if you have broken your vow

a thousand times

Come, yet again, come, come.”


The courtyard of the Mausoleum, which leads to the resting place of Mevlana…..

This is the main entrance of the Mausoleum, inside here are the tombs of Rumi’s family and descendants. The headstones for the male graves have either a green or white turban; the green represents the fact that the person is from the family of Prophet Muhammad salla’Allahu ‘alayhi wasalam, and the white represents that the person is just a descendant of Mevlana. The female graves obviously have no turbans on them, so you could easily identify them. At the corner, right beneath the green dome, is the tomb of Mevlana Rumi. Unfortunately, they do not allow you to take pictures inside the Mausoleum, especially of the tombs, therefore I do not have any to share, but at that point, taking pictures was the last thing on my mind anyway because I was feeling a bit overwhelmed…..

I stood there in awe, unable to hold back my tears, and still couldn’t believe I was standing at the grave of this great person who has moved, transformed, cured and healed many hearts and minds through his poetry, and guiding people to Divine Love. I first came across Mevlana Rumi about 5 years ago, when I didn’t really have any interest in poetry, or even Sufism at that point in my life! But something about Mevlana’s words had an impact on me, and I started reading more of his poems and quotes. I’ve often found great solace, and many answers to my problems/issues in his poetry and advice, therefore for me to visit his blessed grave was something very special and personal. I stood there giving salams on behalf of all those who had asked me to, and then made du’a. I cannot fully describe the feeling I got whilst standing there, one really has to visit and experience it themselves in order to understand.

Beyond Rumi’s tomb, there was another room which was used for the Sema (whirling dance) ceremony once upon a time, but is now used to exhibit old manuscripts (Rumi’s own poetry collection like Mesnavi, Divan etc), various types of Qu’rans, some were small as the palm of a normal person’s hand! They were extraordinary to see, especially since they had been handwritten! Also, to view were instruments such as the Ney, clothes, tasbihs etc. There was also a display with a small box which had the blessed hair of the beloved Prophet Muhammad salla’Allahu ‘alayhi wasalam.

‘Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”






“The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.”



“Sometimes, in order to help, He makes us miserable; but heartache for His sake brings happiness. Laughter will come after tears. Whoever foresees this is a servant blessed by God. Wherever water flows, life flourishes: wherever tears fall, Divine mercy is shown.”

My tour guide then took me around Konya. Here are some pictures I took:

Alaeddin Camii (Mosque)

 

The Alaeddin Mosque is the largest and oldest mosque in Konya, in fact, it was the first mosque made in Konya.

 

We then went to the top of the highest building in Konya (sorry folks, forgot the name!), just to get a birds-eye view of Konya:


Next on the sightseeing list was Shems Tebrizi Cami (Mosque)


All that sightseeing, made us a little hungry so we stopped at a restaurant to eat “Etliekmek”, the traditional dish of Konya. It’s basically a very long piece of bread with meat.

I was reluctant to try this because it didn’t look too appetizing, plus I’m not a huge fan of meat, especially not mince meat! However, I wanted to experience the complete culture and tradition of Konya, therefore felt I had to try it. I was actually surprised at how good it tasted, it’s quite similar to Lahmacun (Turkish equivalent of pizza), but slightly better in my opinion.

We then visited Mevlana Cultural Centre, where the Sema (whirling dance) takes place every Saturday evening:


 

In the winter, the Sema takes place in this hall which is inside the actual Mevlana Cultural Centre……..

And in the summer, the Sema takes place outside……

As the day went on, the grey clouds disappeared, the sun came out, and the sky looked brighter than it had when I first arrived in Konya. We then visited a few more mosques, and here are some of the photographs I took:

We then went to the outskirts of Konya, and here are a couple of pictures of some of the ruins we saw as we drove past…….

By 3pm, I had pretty much seen most of Konya, well most of the touristy places for sure. My flight back to Istanbul wasn’t until 8pm, and there was nothing else I really wanted to do or see, so I asked my tour guide to take me back to Mevlana Rumi’s Mausoleum because that is where I really wanted to be. The security man at the Mausoleum said that I could sit near the grave until the Mausoleum closed at 5pm. I had 1 hour 45 mins approx, so I found a corner where I sat and read Mevlana’s poems, and just contemplated. The Ney was being played in the background, I felt really relaxed and peaceful. Then the Magrib adhan was called out by the muezzin, it was so clear and beautiful that I wanted the muezzin to continue doing the adhan over and over again. By this time the Mausoleum was empty, I was the only one there. The security man came and said he’ll let me have a few more minutes just to say goodbye to Mevlana, so I tried to make the most of my last moments there….

Still had a couple of hours left before my flight, so I went around some gift shops- the usual stuff tourists do!

Prayer beads anyone?!

Handmade rugs

Before I left the UK, I remember a friend telling me that Konya is very industrial, ugly, and the only amazing thing to see is Mevlana’s zawiyya. I didn’t take much notice of his words at the time, but having seen Konya myself, I can somewhat agree with my friend. I wouldn’t go to the extreme of calling Konya ‘ugly’, but I felt that it didn’t steal my heart like Istanbul has, apart from the beautiful Mausoleum of Mevlana which has secured a special place in my heart.

I would encourage everyone to take the opportunity to visit Konya, simply just to visit Mevlana Rumi’s tomb, you won’t regret it! Feel free to contact me if you need any tips.

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”

“Patience is the key to joy.”

 

Friends are a tremendous blessing from Allah subhanahu wa’tala…..

……We may not always appreciate those people who Allah brings into our lives as friends/companions, and vice versa, they may not always appreciate us either….

…..But we must learn that each individual has their unique way of expressing themselves and how much they value us as individuals and the overall friendship…….. Allah subhanahu wa’tala has created everyone differently……

…..Regardless of who we currently have in our lives, who we lost, or who will come back into our lives tomorrow, we know that Allah is the most Generous, and has blessed this world with so many different, unique and beautiful people to help us through this world…….They might not necessary be like us, but will be brought to us in order to complement our characters and personalities….. Maybe to help us through a particular stage in our lives…. Or perhaps to stay with us throughout this life and the next….. We just don’t know…But it’s all part of His subhanahu wa’tala’s plan for us…..

 

A few of my favourite quotes:

“The likeness of a righteous friend and an evil friend, is the likeness of a (musk) perfume seller and a blacksmith. As for the perfume seller, he may either bestow something on you, or you may purchase something from him, or you may benefit from his sweet smell. And as for the blacksmith, he may either burn your clothes, or you may be exposed to his awful smell.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

 

“A friend cannot be considered a friend until he is tested in three occasions: in time of need, behind your back, and after your death.”[Ali ibn Abi Talib]

 

“No one is a friend of yours except the one who, while knowing your defects, is your companion.”

“We have to understand how to be friends. We wish to know Allah, but we don’t know ourselves. We must begin to see in a way that we can learn about ourselves. Learn about this blessing that Allah has given us. Because we are, each of us, a blessing. Allah has placed a part of His beauty in each of us. And what He has not given to one He’s given to another.” [Mevlana Rumi]

Hold a true friend with both your hands. ~ Nigerian Proverb

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.” ~ Unknown

Who seeks a faultless friend remains friendless. ~ Turkish Proverb

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